Advice From a 17-Year-Old

While many of you were enjoying a long weekend or shopping Cyber Monday sales or recovering/celebrating from the Grey Cup, I celebrated my birthday and turned twenty-seven.

It was Monday and, well, I’m twenty-seven now, so it was pretty low key. The highlight was my incredibly husband who got up at 3:30 in the morning to make me waffles before I went to work. We’ve been eating good food all weekend in the name of my birthday!

I have a little birthday tradition that I do. Every year I write a letter to myself, ten years in the future. I started this when I was 14. (If you’ve ever read Emily of New Moon you might know where I got the idea!) So on my 14th birthday I wrote a letter to myself to be read on my 24th birthday and so on through the years. Since my 24th birthday I’ve had a letter to read as well as one to write. This week I got to read a letter from my 17-year-old self.

This letter takes me back to Fall 2002. I was a couple months into my last year of high school. I was finished with my university applications but it was too early to have heard back yet. I had no idea where I would be celebrating my 18th birthday. I wrote that letter seated in the school library on my study block.

It’s strange how those emotions can come back to you so suddenly. All the fear and excitement of being seventeen. All the plans I had, the way I thought my life would turn out. Needless to say, there is very little of my life now that I foresaw in that library on that day.

And I find that very comforting. My life has not been what I thought it would or should be. I’m not where I thought I would be at 27. I’m somewhere entirely different and it’s good. I can look over the past ten years (or the past 27 years) and it’s good. God has orchestrated my paths in far better ways than I ever could have imagined.

So when I sat down to write my letter to myself at 37, it was with more excitement than fear. Of course I have things that I hope to accomplish in the next ten years. I have an idea of the person I want to be at 37. But I can also trust that 37 might be even better than I can comprehend now. And whether it looks the way I think it should or not, I’m pretty sure it will be amazing.

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